Back in the USA

Hi all. We did return to Colorado and spending some time visiting family in other States too. We have been lucky to spend most of the winter in the Aspen area and it has been lovely!
We have received news that the Cyclone season in the South Pacific has been a rough one with Australia getting hit causing lots of damage and flooding. Luckily Shellette is in good hands and safe from any damage. If you happened to see CNN where they reported the sea foam in Australia was in the streets….well that is where Shellette is…but tucked away and no sea foam for Her! We also received reports from fellow yachties that Fiji took a big hit from a cyclone and sustained much damage. Those of you that visited us there will be sad to here Musket Cove and Port Denarau were hard hit.

Shellette is still for sale but no serious offers yet. While I am looking for work ( to keep Mike in the style and comforts he is accustomed), Mike is readying to return to AU next month to ready Shellette for the remaining trip back to the USA…..remember Shellette is a custom made vessel and was built in South Africa and She will complete her circumnavigation soon! All for now….Stay tuned…Life is Good!


We have sailed back down to Brisbane and we picked a perfect day to do so. It was a nice sunny , slightly breezy day and we were able to have the sails up and enjoy our surroundings.
As we entered the very fast Brisbane River and pulled in to dock we lost an engine, yikes. If you are familiar with catamarans you will know you need both engines especially when parking….and especially when trying to park in high winds and a 6 knot current. Long story short, we bumped into a large Yacht that was over hanging the dock by 40+ feet..not much damage to them but Shellette got her new paint scratched up (Bummer). Everyone at the Marina could not believe Mike got her in at all with just one engine. Go Capt Mike!
We sailed back to Brisbane because we had put Shellette up For Sale and we wanted to show her off in the Brisbane Boat Show. We decided to try to sell the boat in Australia because it was currently the best place to sell a boat. Now, it appears that the Australian economy is heading in the same direction as America so the boat market has taken a dive. We decided from the beginning if we did not get a decent and fair price for her, we would not give her away. We have not had a respectable offer so we are taking this as a sign to continue the Journey! We are not sure where we will head next but looking more like we will return to Fiji…..I can already hear several friends and family members doing the Happy Dance on that news!!
That being said, we have hauled the boat out of the water and repaired the engine and paint scratches. We will start the process of preparing her for storage next week. We have been granted an extension on our Australia Visa and will head to Sydney and Melbourne for the remainder of our time here. We’ve been in Australia too long over the last 12 months and they weren’t going to extend but because we have a boat they conceded…yeah!
We have been eager to see more of Australia and will be happy to go South. We actually have friends in Sydney. They are fellow yachties that we met in Panama in 2009 and again in Fiji 2010. They have completed their Sail About and have invited us to their home so we are excited to see them again and more of Australia. Sydney Opera House, here we come! I still haven’t run into Hugh Jackman, Curtis Stone or Russell Crowe…I still have time though!!! Stay Tuned….Life is Good!

Photo Gallery has been updated…

Snakes, Sharks and Crocs…OH MY!

Let me talk about what else we saw along the way! As you head North in Queensland you are heading for the tropical part of Australia. The Southern half is sub-tropical like New Zealand.
We spent 4 days at the Whit Sunday Islands. I never knew Australia had such pristine, white sand beaches as we saw here. This is a group of about 73 islands. The Aboriginal people believe the Serpent Gods laid there eggs here many years ago and these eggs became the islands they are today. Some islands the Aboriginals believe to be cursed. This is partially due to Captain Cook landing here and slaughtering every Aborignal on the island, back in the day. Great Explorer, but not such a gentle caring sort. Anyway, we cruised around here on a local boat, spent time having lunch on the beach, saw lots of Goanna’s (large lizards), hiked to top of a mountain for spectacular views and then made our way to another island for some snorkeling.
There are several hundred types of Jelly Fish…three or four are deadly….those three or four are in Australia. Since it is coming upon summer here and the water is warming up this is considered Stinger Season. They will tell you to wear a “stinger suit” to go in the water to protect you from getting bit by a Jelly or Stinger. They gave us these thin, black spandex suits that covered your body, head, hands etc. Your feet were covered by your fins and the only thing not covered was your face…which your mask and snorkel took care of most of that. We suited up with the rest of the people on the boat and I said to Mike – “Great, now we look like seals!” If the Jelly’s don’t get you the sharks will….I get it now! It all turned out well, we snorkeled and nobody got stung or eaten! It was such a beautiful area. This is also where the Great Barrier Reef starts.
We also found a small hotel on the water called Monte’s. It was in the middle of nowhere, down a dirt road and just gorgeous. They only have about 8 hotel rooms, a small bar/restaurant but it sits on the beach and its just great. We only found it through a local friend telling us about it.
When we left this area we continued North and found a campground again, in the middle of nowhere, in a town called Rolling Stone. Down a dirt road we wandered, through the forest, following a sign promising camping. We found this very beautiful campground right on the beach. Unfortunately, we were not provisioned with much food so we lived on the local prawns, fish and local pineapple for two days. It was ok, we were excited to have beach front accommodations! Our first walk onto the beach we came upon the large “WARNING” sign about no swimming in the water, no walking on water’s edge etc..due to crocs! Ohhhh, we’ve made it to Croc Country… enough said! At least they had a nice pool!
We then headed for Cairns, pronounced Cans. This is a lovely city that many locals believe would be the capital of Queensland if it didn’t have so many things that could kill you…like the crocs. Here we found a campground that was more like a Disneyland Resort….really nice. We managed some day trips through the Rainforest by train to Kuranda, an old mining town. The train itself was from the 1800’s…really unique (and slow). We walked around there and had lunch. I believe Mike ordered the Crocodile Sausage, it’s pretty good. The return trip back down over the top of the rainforest canopy was by Sky Rail, a gondola, a very high gondola. It was a little scary for me but the views were remarkable. When we got close to the coast you had a perfect view of the Coral Sea!
Up Close and Personal With One of the Seven Wonders of The World!
From here we made our way to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation. Cape Tribulation is where the sealed road ends and you can only continue by 4WD. We took the advice of some local friends and waited until we got to Port Douglas to dive and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. You simply can’t come to Australia and not go to the Great Barrier Reef….It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World that you can see from space! It is something like 3,200 miles long!
Our charter boat took us 30km (20 miles) out to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef! Talk about intimidating. I was very surprised at how clear the water was here. I snorkeled and Mike did some diving. They stopped at 3 different spots throughout the day. I know what you are thinking, what about the stingers, crocs and sharks? My thought exactly but as nature would have it, the water this far out is not warm enough for the stingers so no stinger suits needed. As for sharks…they claim they don’t come that shallow, whatever….and as for crocs they claim they do see the occasional one on the reef but don’t think they generally come that far out….besides the water is too clear for crocs there as they like dirty water they can hide and hunt in. The water was a little cold and the currents very strong but the coral was spectacular. Lot’s of fish, turtles, giant and colorful clams, 400 species of coral! Mike even saw his first Leopard Shark….even the Dive Guide was impressed as that is not a usual sighting.
Port Douglas is also the port where the American couple was left behind when diving and the big Hollywood movie was made, “Open Water”. That dive company has since folded and the locals here all believed strongly that the couple simply planned this and are living happily on an island somewhere.
After our ocean exploration we spent some time in the Daintree Rainforest. This area is “where the ocean meets the forest, and this is exactly what you experience. We have driven through and hiked through the Daintree, which is THE oldest Rainforest on the planet. We learned so much about the rainforest and the life within. We even took a small local boat ride down the Daintree River and spotted some crocs in the wild. Australia has saltwater crocs as well as freshwater crocs. The salties will kill you and eat you whereas the freshies are faster but will likely just take a few nice bites out of you. We also visited a croc farm and were up close to a live feeding of the crocs. I can tell you the noise their jaws make when snapping at food. It is bone chilling or should I say crushing!
Believe it or not we did actually take a swim in two swimming holes along our hike through the rainforest. We did have a local guide with us and the story is this; If the water is clear and cold, no crocs….if its muddy and warmer, crocs. I pointed out to the the guide for future reference, perhaps he should take his clients to the swimming holes prior to the croc sightings…but that’s just me!
We then left Cape Tribulation and headed into the Outback. Everyone warned us “there is nothing there”…and they weren’t kidding. We did see lots of wildlife though. Lot’s of Roos, Emus, wild pigs, cattle, and believe it or not, camels….we thought we were seeing things.
Australia is still in the process of building roads through the Outback so we spent several hundered miles going through such Road Works. The road often goes down to one lane and you will find yourself up against a Road Train coming the opposite direction. The only thing you can do is quickly get off the road. It really is quite dangerous. These Road Trains are the big Mack Trucks that haul up to 5 trails behind them. They swerve all over and don’t even attempt to slow down for anyone. Hence the reason you just get off the road! We spent a few nights in the Outback. Our first place was a little eerie as we were only 1 of 3 people in the whole campground…as it turns out on of the others was from Denver….go figure. We did not get up to pee in the night as it was pitch black and lots of critters to get you!
We ended our journey with a Farm Stay. We stayed on an actual cattle Farm for two nights in the Outback. We rode horses, dirt bikes, milked the cows, fed the calves…the whole picture! Oh, and guess who I found in the HEN HOUSE???? Mike, ofcourse…collecting eggs. We stayed in the bunk house, complete with shared bathrooms and showers! We ate our meals with the owners and farm hands. We had kangaroos run through the kitchen everyday. We just loved it! Mike impressed them so much with his dirt bike skills that they asked him to go round up the horses one morning. There he went driving down the road to roundup the horses. He brought them all back, solo! So now, those of you who know Mike can imagine his head no longer fits through the door and we now have to refer to him as Wrangler Mike!! We were actually sorry to leave Myella Farm but it was a great way to end our month long journey! We travelled over 5,000km (3,350 miles)…that is more than the distance from NY to California!
We are now back on the boat and heading South tomorrow. Pictures are being downloaded and we hope to have an album together on the website very soon….so stay tuned….Life is Good!


I’ve had some problems with posting our blogs on the website…sorry about that. All seems to be okay now.
We have since returned from Fiji to Australia and we rented a Camper Van (High Top) to do some land travel. Think VW Bus with a sink, fridge, stove top and bed. I like to think of it as a Fort on wheels! Mind you this rig has the driver seat on the right, stick shift on your left and they drive on the left. Lookout, High Top coming through!
First let me tell you a little about Australia. This is a very large country divided into 6 States; Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Whales and Queensland. The majority of the population lives along the Eastern and Southern coastal areas as there is limited water supplies, especially in the Outback (the inside). Books about Australia will tell you this country has “more things that can kill you on land and in the sea”, like sharks, spiders, snakes, gators, jellyfish….than any other place on earth. The locals joke that if the jellies don’t’ get you the crocs will and if the crocs don’t the sharks will  Aussie humor!
The major industry here is mining; iron ore, coal, gold, opals etc…Farming of Sugar Cane and Tourism is also a big industry however the Australian Dollar is quite high the last year or so as is the cost of living, this is keeping tourism way down the last two years.
The Australian culture does not tip so service is generally awful. There is a lot to be said about being a service oriented and hospitable culture as in America. While we have met lots of wonderful and lovely people, in general we have found the Australian people to be unfriendly and somewhat rude. When you go to a store or restaurant, hotel etc…you are not greeted with warmth but rather as though you are putting them out. It can be frustrating. Not to mention being from America usually prompts an attitude from locals too…..Everywhere we have been, they all really don’t like Americans….yet they all want to be us, go figure!
We are in southern Queensland and travelled North along the East coast and came back down through the Outback. They warn you to be be self sufficient when you travel here, meaning have extra fuel, tires, food, water etc…the highways are small, two lane roads…more of a country road than highway. They throw in an occasional shoulder should you have car trouble. They also advise you not to drive at night as the kangaroos (affectionately referred to as Roos by the locals) are plentiful and cause many accidents. We believe it because you wouldn’t believe the Roo Roadkill! It is nothing for us to see 50+ dead Roos in a travel day! We generally drive 4-5 hours in a day then stop somewhere for 3 days and explore that area. The further away from the city (Brisbane) you get, the fewer and farther away the towns get. There are usually plenty of places to stop for camping. Most places offer nice, clean accommodations.
That’s it for the moment…stay tuned…Life is Good!

Updates from Down Under!!

Hello everyone. We took a week to fly to Fiji to visit some yachts friends we still have there.
We were welcomed back so warmly by the locals that it just felt like coming home!
We chartered a small boat one day to head out to the Yasawa islands …it was quite a rough ride but we enjoyed visiting the islands and fishing on the way back.
We stayed at Musket Cove Resort in a hotel…you know you are in the tropics when the main amenity in your room is Roach Spray!

So Long USA…for now

We have spent the last few months in the States as  Mike needed some rotator cuff surgery.  His surgery was successful but Not

the 100% it used to be.  Still some PT to continue for full recovery.  Thank you for all the well wishes along the way.

We were fortunate to be able to visit family and friends in Michigan, New Jersey, Florida and California while in the USA.  I am posting some pics of our adventures shortly.

We will be returning to Australia this week for more adventuring….

In  the near future I will be blogging on FaceBook instead of this website, it’s cheaper.  If you are of the stubborn few who refuses to be on FB and wish to receive our updates, please let me know so I can send you updates via email.  If you are on FB and have not friended me yet, and wish to receive updates, the please friend me.

We have a long flight back to Winter down under……all for now.

Stay tuned …Life is Good!,,

Back on the High Seas!

Well we never thought we’d see the day but we finally finished the work on Shellette and she is back in the water!….and she looks fabulous!  We went back in the water early April and sailed to an island off of Brisbane where we anchored for the night.  It was strange getting back into the routine of sailing, provisioning, anchoring etc…but it sure felt great!  Back to watching the sunsets, watching dolphins and sea turtles.  We then headed further up the coast (North) to Maloolaba.  Picture Ft. Lauderdale only smaller, cleaner and more beautiful.  It’s a resort area with beaches, boutiques and lots of cafes…..a welcome change from the city.  The only downside to Maloolaba is that the entrance from the ocean to the River where the Marina is, is quite treacherous….there are massive waves beating you into the jetty….so big this is where the Surfers choose to surf.  This makes dodging the waves and surfers and jetty quite an ordeal.  One surfer was killed by a boat trying to get in when we were there…..Aussies have no fear!

Although we haven’t seen very much of the very big Australia we can tell you it is beautiful, but costly.  Absolutely everything in Australia is expensive.  (A pack of cigarettes is $20-$25…no kidding)…and everybody there smokes!  Many people have taken to rolling there own filterless butts…yuk!  The beaches in Australia are beautiful however, quite dangerous.  It is nothing for the lifeguards to make 40 rescues in one day on one beach.  The rip tides come in quick and many get saved…some not.  Another 14 year old drowned last month during a surfing competition….apparently this happens too often.  Just goes to show you, even with all the life savers that were there in the water for the competition, they still lost him.  Very sad.  Also, the Rivers that flow into the Pacific have very dangerous currents….they are dragging the rivers weekly for bodies….it’s just a way of life here.   And YES they have their fair share of shark attacks!..Mike was ready to jump in the water one day until he saw several Hammer Head Sharks around the boat…he opted for the boat!

My favorite part of Australia is the wildlife…..they really do have Kangaroos everywhere!  They are like deer in the USA…and people unfortunately hit them with the cars often!  I had the pleasure of going to the Steve Irwin Park where is family still works…what a great place.  Most animals roam free and you can interact with them.  I’ve posted lot’s more pics for you to see.  I actually got to hold a Koala Bear…..and yes, you will see Bindy(Steve Irwin’s 13 yr. old daughter) feeding a croc….apparently she is as fearless as her father was!  The Roos come right up to you and eat out of your hand.

Mike and I have returned to the States so Mike could have his scheduled rotator cuff surgery.  All went well on Tuesday and he is now resting, recouping and I’m happy to say feeling good enough to call me Nurse Ratchet!  He has several weeks of PT before we return to OZ so enjoy the newest pics in the Gallery for now!  Thank you to all for your Get Well wishes too!  Stay tuned….Life is Good!



We are still in Brisbane as we are working on Shellette.  She is getting quite a bit of work done and a full paint job.  It is very hard work but will be worth it in the end.  While we are doing much work ourselves we do have lots of help to do other things too.  Mike is really working hard trying to get things done while also managing everyone involved….it is quite the task.  The weather has not been cooperative with lots of rain so we demasted Shellette and moved her inside the shed.  (Pics in the Gallery)

Brisbane, which is in the State of Queensland has suffered many floods, cyclones and monsoons over the last year.  Many deaths and thousands of homes have been lost.    This January we’ve had nearly 14 inches of rain.  When the sun does come out it is hot…in the 90’s…. 

They definately talk funny and have funny words for everything….hard to keep up sometimes.  Breaky, Snowie, Icy, Rocket, Pisser…..That means…Breakfast, Snowcone, Icecream, Salad, Party….   The Australian dollar is quite strong now, higher than the USD.  We can not tell you how expensive it is here….to get an idea…they Payless Shoe Store here as well….a pair of shoes costs $59.99AUD….$63USD  YIKES!!!!

We haven’t had time to really see much of Australia yet but we took some time to take a boat ride down the Brisbane River yesterday and took lots of pics.  We also were able to watch the Superbowl this morning at 9:30am Aussie time….very wierd having coffee and donuts while watching football!!! 

That is it for now but check out the picture gallery for recent pics….stay tuned…Life is Good (even in the boatyard)  :)

G’day Mates!!

A warm welcome from Down Under! We hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We enjoyed our time back in the States. We visited lots of family and friends and are refreshed and ready to get back to Shellette.
We arrived in Australia Jan. 6th. We stopped by to see Shellette where she is in the midst of getting a new paint job. She missed us and is eager to return to the water….we have lots of work to do on her yet but will keep you posted as we will be touring Australia by land for a bit. One day and we’ve already got sunburns as it is summer here and the sun is VERY strong!
More later…stay tuned…Life is Good….

We’ve arrived